Darren Rovell had the hottest take for April 19-25.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes. This time, we’re looking at the hottest takes from April 19 to 25.

5. Peter King and Mike Florio wonder how Kyler Murray “will handle adversity at the next level” because…he won too much? The lead-up to the NFL Draft is always full of curious reasons to knock prospects, and one of the most curious in a while came from NBC Sports’ Peter King and Mike Florio. King started this with comments on Kyler Murray in a mock draft posted Monday:

I do want to give you one cautionary tale on Kyler Murray, assuming he is picked here. Over the last seven years of football—three years of varsity high school football, a short one-year stint at Texans A&M, sitting a year at Oklahoma after transferring, mostly sitting in 2017 behind Baker Mayfield, and starting last year at Oklahoma—Murray has started 60 games. He is 57-3. Who knows if he starts right away in the NFL? But in the NFL, he could lose more starts in a month than he lost in the previous seven years. It’ll be interesting to see how Murray adjusts to adversity. Not sure he’s ever had much of it, at least in football.

Florio then endorsed this in a “great point” tweet, and in an article of his own:

Kyler Murray has had it easy in football. Very easy.  Maybe too easy.

Peter King points out in his latest Football Morning in America column that Murray has started 60 games over the last seven years. He has won 57, and he has lost three.

“[I]n the NFL, he could lose more starts in a month than he lost in the previous seven years,” King writes, and he’s right. And the question then becomes how will Murray handle adversity?

He probably won’t be able to handle it like he did after losing to Texas during the regular season, when a “good game” gesture from Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger morphed into a perceived diss that echoed into the late-season rematch. 

Florio goes on to make the valid point that Murray (the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics) does seemingly have a more compelling alternative sports option than most players, and that if things get really bad for him in the NFL, he might wind up walking away and choosing MLB. Okay. And yes, playing for a currently-bad NFL team like the Arizona Cardinals (who selected him first overall in the end) will be a change for Murray from his success as a starter in high school and college.

But “not sure he’s ever had much of it” on adversity seems foolish, considering that Murray’s initial college (Texas A&M, not “Texans A&M” as King writes) didn’t work out for him (the Aggies chose Kyle Allen as a starter over Murray, which, great move there; Allen went undrafted in 2018, but saw some time with the Carolina Panthers last year), that he had to sit out a year in 2016 thanks to that transfer and that he didn’t get to play much in 2017 thanks to the emergence of Baker Mayfield. All of that seems like at least some adversity. (To say nothing of the challenges Murray faced last season, like rebounding from that loss to Texas.)

And more importantly, while quarterback win-loss records are a bad stat that often says more about the team than the player, and aren’t a great thing in isolation to praise a player for, they feel like an even sillier thing to criticize someone for. You’re literally saying “He won too much,” and implying that these concerns wouldn’t exist if the player in question had lost a few more games. Also, many top college players come from good high school teams, and many top draft picks come from good college teams, so this is a “criticism” that could be levied against a lot of prospects. But it suggests that the analyst in question hasn’t found anything more meaningful to criticize.

Rating: 🔥🔥 for both.

4. Chris Torello says “there are no transfer portals in real life,” later apologizes with “dumbest tweet of my existence”: There have been a lot of NCAA coaches complaining about players transferring, and last Friday saw Florida Atlantic’s Lane Kiffin (who definitely never left one job for another, not in the middle of the night or anything) join that crowd. And that of course spawned some media reactions, with a lot of people dunking on Kiffin but some agreeing with him.One of those agreements came in particularly ridiculous fashion, from Chris Torello (a sports anchor for Tampa Bay’s Spectrum News 9 and Orlando’s Spectrum News 13). He’s since deleted the tweet, but here’s a screencap:

Chris Torello transfer portal.

As many pointed out to him, “real life” is full of much less restrictive transfers; if you’re not a student-athlete and want to work at a place closer to an ailing relative, and that place wants you, there’s no regulatory body that would say “Sorry, no.” And much of the rest of the workforce often leaves one job for a better opportunity without being accused of being “mentally weak.” Even NCAA coaches manage to “transfer” all the time, regularly leaving jobs for better situations. To his credit, Torello apologized and admitted the error in his thinking:

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

3. Andy Benoit says next NFL CBA should make voluntary workouts mandatory, “it’s ok to say [a player] should go to work 10 months a year”: There’s been plenty of talk this week around the NFL’s “voluntary” offseason workouts, which are frequently only really voluntary if you’re a highly-prominent player who can’t be cut or lose your starting spot for not attending. (And even then, you’ll get people criticizing you, such as ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi with a ridiculous “Hey Odell, where are you?” “open letter” this week.) But some veteran players have managed to successfully not attend workouts, and that led to Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Benoit chiming in with a take that these workouts need to be made mandatory, and that “it’s ok to say [a player] should go to work 10 months a year”:

Benoit then got dunked on by a bunch of NFL players and other media members:

It’s possible to debate a CBA proposal to make those workouts mandatory. As mentioned above, there are numerous players who can’t really take the option to skip these workouts for fear of losing their job, thanks to the various ways the teams and owners have managed to undermine the “voluntary” part here. And agreeing to make these workouts mandatory could potentially be a bargaining chip used in exchange for other gains for the players’ association. But that’s a decision for the players’ association to make.

The real hot take here comes from Benoit’s suggestion that “it’s ok” to make players work more, and that they’d only work 10 months out of the year under this proposal. As many responses to Benoit noted, staying in the NFL is a year-round job as it is, one with a hefty physical toll, and even not attending a team-run minicamp doesn’t mean the player’s not working. There’s a good reason that players have bargained for those minicamps to be voluntary; there’s a significant gain for quite a few players from that. It’s not “ok” to just force them to give that up because a NFL analyst thinks they should work more, and if they do give that up, it should be in exchange for other gains. To his credit, though, Benoit did eventually backpedal a bit and say he’s open to both sides of the argument:

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥

2. Will Cain defends Kate Smith’s “That’s Why The Darkies Were Born” and “Pickaninny Heaven”: The New York Yankees pulled Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America” from their rotation this season. This week, the New York Daily News reported that the move was made after accusations of racism against the singer (who died in 1986) over World War Two-era jingles like “Pickaninny Heaven” and “That’s Why The Darkies Were Born” (with lyrics about “colored children” fantasizing about a place with “great big watermelons” and “someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.” respectively). That led to a whole giant debate, and to the Philadephia Flyers not only axing Smith’s version of the song, but also covering and planning to move her statue. And while even the likes of Mike Francesa understood the rationale for that move, ESPN “balance-bringer” Will Cain decided to argue that it’s unfair to move away from Smith’s songs now because…racist lyrics were socially accepted at the time of these recordings.

“It’s an absolute and utter fool’s errand to go back through history, decades, someone who’s been passed away for 30 years, incidents that occurred eight decades ago, and apply modern historical standards to something you can almost reach a century. I’m suggesting that your standard, yours, only requires a handful of people to be a little outraged to go back and tear statues down. And I’m telling you that by your standard, President Obama’s statues would not stand today when it comes to gay rights, and that is asinine.”

As Stephen A. Smith (for once the voice of reason) points out in response to Cain, “That’s easy for you to say, because you’re not the offended party.” And yeah, it’s not a great look for Cain to claim that no one else should be offended by Kate Smith’s songs and that teams should continue to embrace her just because he isn’t offended by this. It’s not about if he’s offended or not; if people actually targeted by these lyrics have a problem with them and have a problem with teams continuing to associate with someone who recorded them (and many do have a problem with that), that seems much more important than what Will Cain thinks.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

1. Darren Rovell criticizes LSU’s gymnastics team for celebrating their second-place national finish with a billboard: Action Network pundit Rovell has dropped plenty of controversial takes over the years, and he picked a particularly unusual hill to take a stand on this week; not only criticizing LSU’s gymnastics team for billboards celebrating a second-place finish at the national championships, but saying “No, you can’t put up a billboard for coming in second.”

Well, first, they can and they did, Darren; you may be a fan of making up rules for everything, but even you don’t follow those. Beyond that, second-place finishes and below are celebrated all the time; in the Olympics, there’s a ton of publicity for those who win silver or bronze medals, and all sorts of teams celebrate divisional championships, conference championships, College World Series appearances, Final Four appearances and beyond. Also, this billboard is not just a celebration for the athletes involved, who accomplished remarkable things (including Sarah Finnegan, who won the AAI award as the country’s top senior female gymnast), it’s also thanking the fans who supported them at home meets. And, as gymnastics writer/analyst Lauren Hopkins pointed out, Rovell himself has celebrated far, far more insignificant accomplishments:

Although, to be fair, it is somewhat impressive that Rovell finished a marathon when you consider his running form:

Yes, those are definitely the top-tier athletic skills of someone with great credentials for telling athletes and teams what they can and cannot celebrate.

Rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Honorable mentions: Tony Grossi for “Hey Odell, where are you?”, Robin Miller for “Sorry, Tiger, these are the real comeback stories.”

Hot Take Standings:

Jason Whitlock – Hall of Fame
Stephen A. Smith – 242
Skip Bayless – 203
Phil Mushnick – 181
Colin Cowherd – 84
Rob Parker – 59
Doug Gottlieb – 53
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Don Cherry – 30
Albert Breer – 29
Dan Shaughnessy – 26
Darren Rovell – 25
Ray Lewis – 25
Charles Barkley – 24
Danny Kanell – 24
Britt McHenry – 20
JT The Brick – 20
Mike Francesa – 19
Andy Benoit – 18
Dan Dakich – 18
Michael DeCourcy – 16
Jason McIntyre – 16
Tony Massarotti – 15
Ben Maller – 15
Bill Plaschke – 14
Jason Smith – 13
Kirk Herbstreit – 13
Mike Felger – 13
The Sporting News – 13
Chris Broussard – 13
Rick Morrissey – 13
Michael Wilbon – 12
Michael Rapaport – 11
John Middlekauff – 11
Keith Olbermann – 11
Jeff Schultz – 10
Greg Gabriel – 10
Rob Rossi – 10
Bill James – 10
Joe Simpson – 10
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Graham Couch – 9
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – 9
Ross Tucker – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Bob Ford – 8
John Feinstein – 8
Steve Simmons – 8
Frank Isola – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Will Cain – 7
Howard Eskin – 7
Trent Dilfer – 7
Damien Cox – 7
Mike Bianchi – 7
Cris Carter – 7
Pat Forde – 7
Peter King – 6
Charley Casserly – 6
The Wall Street Journal – 6
Pat Leonard – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
Merril Hoge – 5
Jonathan Allen – 5
Dean Blevins – 5
Tony Rizzo – 5
Paul Sullivan – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Dan Clark  – 5
Paul Daugherty  – 5
Michael Kay – 5
Tom Jones – 5
Max Kellerman – 5
Mark Readings – 5
Neil Warnock – 5
Patrick Bet-David – 5
Jared Stillman – 5
Jen Rainwater – 5
Matt Walsh – 5
Jon Steinberg – 5
Bill Welt – 5
Jack Todd – 5
Aaron Murray – 5
Chris Childers – 5
Mark Knight – 5
The Herald Sun – 5
David Booth – 5
Tom Nichols – 5
Keith Hernandez – 5
Bill O’Reilly – 5
Brandel Chamblee – 5
Michael McCarthy – 5
Mike “The Reputation Doctor®” Paul – 5
Dennis Dodd – 5
Rich Lowry – 5
Chris Reed – 5
The San Diego Union-Tribune – 5
David Hookstead – 5
Tomm Looney – 5
Alex Shaw – 5
Rick Reilly – 5
Randall Mell – 5
Ian O’Connor – 5
Michael Bamberger – 5
Bob Bubka – 5
Cathal Kelly – 5
Pete Prisco – 5
Bill Simons – 5
Christine Flowers – 5
Jason Lieser – 5
John Steigerwald – 5
Josh Peter – 5
Alexi Lalas – 5
John Moody – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson – 5
Rod Watson – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
John McGrath – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 5
Rick Bozich – 5
Michael O’Doherty – 5
Simon Briggs – 5
Dan Wetzel – 5
Mike Parry – 5
Bob Ryan – 5
Robert Reed – 5
Pete Dougherty – 5
Dan Le Batard – 5
Marcus Hayes – 5
Kyle Turley – 5
Mike Ditka – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Mike Florio – 4
Randal Grichuk – 4
Mike Schmidt – 4
Mike Bell – 4
Cody McDavis – 4
The New York Times – 4
Dan Crenshaw – 4
Mike Vaccaro – 4
Mike Klis – 4
Richard Keys – 4
Bruce Levine – 4
Malcolm Gladwell – 4
That’s Kappy – 4
Mitchell Nathanson – 4
The New York Daily News – 4
“Big” Jim Murray – 4
Jeff Diamond – 4
Marc Berman – 4
Evan Roberts – 4
Corbin Smith – 4
DJ Siddiqi – 4
The Express – 4
Mark Kiszla – 4
Greg Witter – 4
Myron Medcalf – 4
Bill Polian – 4
MJ Franklin – 4
Alex Reimer – 4
Joan Vennochi – 4
Matt Yglesias – 4
Bill Livingston – 4
Michael Irvin – 4
Shawn Windsor – 4
Brock Huard – 4
Byron Tau – 4
Maggie Gray – 4
Michael Powell – 4
Mark Spector – 4
Chad Forbes – 4
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
USA Today – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Chris Torello – 3
Aaron Taylor – 3
Undisputed producers – 3
Pete Thamel – 3
John Kincade – 3
Brian Burke – 3
Doug Russell  – 3
Carl Steward  – 3
Jerry Coleman – 3
Jon Johnson  – 3
Trey Wingo – 3
Lance Zierlein – 3
Michael Salfino – 3
Tom Van Riper – 3
Andy Katz – 3
Tony La Russa  – 3
Jim Brady – 3
Bill Simmons – 3
Mark Teixeira – 3
Wally Hall – 3
Damien Woody – 3
Victor Cruz – 3
Andrew Walker – 3
Jim Kaat – 3
Jason Gay – 3
Steven J. Brams – 3
Aaron Isaksen – 3
Will Muschamp – 3
Buck Lanford – 3
Stan Fischler – 3
Sonnie Wooden – 3
Chris Jones – 3
Kelly Smith – 3
Reggie Miller – 3
Mark Madden – 3
Larry Brooks – 3
Dan Canova – 3
Steve Rosenbloom – 3
Stephen Jackson – 3
Mike Sando – 3
Walt Borla – 3
Nick Cafardo – 3
Ice Cube – 3
Justin Peters – 3
Elise Finch – 3
Kevin Skiver – 3
David Bahnsen – 3
Harold Reynolds – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Caron Butler – 3
Don Brennan – 3
Robert Tychkowski – 3
Mike Johnston – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Pierre McGuire – 2
The Palm Beach Post – 2
Karl Ravech – 2
Dari Nowkah – 2
Ella Dorsey – 2
The Hill – 2
John Kindt – 2
Bill Madden – 2
Tony Gonzalez – 2
Mike Greenberg – 2
Grant Paulsen – 2
Jeff Ermann – 2
Ed Werder – 2
Ben Mulroney – 2
Ron Cook – 2
Brian Kenny – 2
Barrett Sallee – 2
Craig Calcaterra – 2
Gareth Wheeler – 2
John Cornyn – 2
Tony Dungy – 2
Bruce Jenkins – 2
Chris Wesseling – 2
Seth Greenberg – 2
Doug Smith – 2
Newsweek – 2
Teddy Cutler – 2
Bill Cowher – 2
Paul Finebaum – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Mitch Lawrence – 2
Nick Wright – 2
Domonique Foxworth – 2
Gary Parrish – 2
Michael Farber – 2
Andy Furman – 2
Donovan McNabb – 2
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me via e-mail or on Twitter.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing.